2016 has seen it all – from the hysteria of the Summer Olympics, to the mayhem surrounding Pokémon Go, to perhaps the most unconventional Presidential election in history. In technology, the analysts and editors have inundated us with fanciful tales of ‘digital disruption’ and the impending ‘business transformation’ …yawn. Can we move onto to 2017 already?
Fortunately, Forrester has taken a forward-looking approach towards technology and its impact on our world, having recently published their Internet of Things (IoT) Predictions for 2017 which shines the light on what’s in, what’s out and who’s going to succeed in the emerging ‘smart everything’ market. In their latest brief 2017: Security and Skills Will Temper Growth Of IoT , Forrester summarizes the results of the report and touches on how emerging IoT technologies will dramatically impact our lives – particularly in the B2B and B2C sectors.
From the brief, we’ve gleaned that the IoT will continue to foster business growth as adoption rates increase and the benefits associated with IoT technologies extend to untapped industries. The IoT will bring tremendous opportunity and risks to those who embrace it. Startups will continue to dominate IoT, while large enterprises will increasingly incorporate IoT strategies into their existing systems infrastructure using an integrated approach.
Below are some of the more interesting findings from Forrester’s brief:
IoT Will Become More Distributive
The software enabled by IoT devices will no longer be hardware specific, reducing the upfront costs often associated with implementing new technologies. The key benefit that data distribution provides is allowing the consolidation of enterprise data, analytics and insights, that were once fragmented over disparate systems, to be automated and streamlined into a single system of record for more cost-effective business intelligence monitoring, reporting, and increased efficiencies.
Blockchain Architecture Goes Mainstream
Bitcoin, the main currency of the once infamous black market site SilkRoad.com, taught us a thing or two about distributed P&L management. Bitcoin pioneered blockchain architecture to create a digital ledger of distributed transactions to share amongst a network of computers. Forrester predicts we will start to see the first real world experiments of businesses using this technology to facilitate transactions. So there goes the middle man, retailers will no longer need payment gateways who charge costly processing fees for every transaction. Forrester goes on to make the assumption that removing the third-party processing could drive down the costs of goods and services sold by online retailers.
IoT Security Concerns Increase
Just like your office laptop or card scanner at your neighborhood grocery store, Internet connected devices are constantly in the crosshairs of malicious hackers. With IoT adoption set to explode in 2017, it becomes paramount for IoT solution providers to integrate security protocols to limit their exposure to attack.
IoT Certifications Start to Take Hold
You feel more at ease seeing a doctorate degree hanging on the wall of your doctor’s office. Forrester sees a rise in IoT certifications as a requirement for potential users and buyers to validate vendor credentials.
IoT Will Significantly Enhance Mobile Experiences
With the launch of the iPhone in 2007, smartphones have taken over the world causing an explosion of connected devices and the proliferation of IoT. The outcome is extraordinary; we have access to more customer data than ever before. Retailers have a tremendous opportunity to take advantage of the data explosion to collect, analyze and leverage consumer insights for an enhanced customer experience.
In addition, new customer touchpoints through the IoT will give businesses more opportunities to interact with their customers. Coca Cola utilizes its vending machines to gather information about when, where, and how their customers are consuming their beverages. This led them to notice a spike in beverage consumption on college campuses before specific TV shows air. This allows them to obtain a more robust understanding of their customer demographics and deliver highly targeted advertising.
To Sum It Up…
Now that the ‘digital disruption’ conversion is exhausted and we’re all clear that new technologies and big data require new business models, it’s time to figure out what that looks like for Retailers. In 2017 expect to see more businesses embracing the technology to provide a better customer experience. The difference between the winners and losers is all in the application of the information that is now readily available at our fingertips.